At just about every one of my yoga sessions, the instructor has at some point walked over to me and adjusted my shoulders. “Shoulders down,” she coaxes me, pushing on them gently.
“You don’t understand,” I want to tell her, “that’s how I keep my head on straight.”
“That right there represents 45 years of well-honed, carefully-compounded tension. It’s what keeps me upright and steeled.”
But whatever it is I am carrying there in my shoulders no more keeps me strong than those other things we carry with us as protective amulets.
The clutter we accumulate as distractions.
The addictions we rely on for support.
The consternation we let run rampant in our heads.
The old stories we tell ourselves.
They don’t make us who we are. They don’t support who we are. They don’t strengthen who we are.
They just bind us up. Torque our intentions. Burden our resolve.
“The greatest step towards a life of simplicity is to learn to let go,” writes Steve Maraboli in his book Life, the Truth, and Being Free.
“Shoulders down,” my yoga instructor encourages. “Let go.”
• • •
“The Things We Carry,” ©2012, Jen Payne, Branford, CT
Photo from theportforum.com shows men carrying grapes at a vineyard.